In case you have not heard the news about Mckenna Pope, you need to learn about who right now is quite possibly the most awesome eight grader in America. As featured on The Daily Beast, this spitfire from Garfield, NJ, has launched a petition on Change.org that, in the culinary world and beyond, could become the biggest step ahead for gender equality since Paula Deen told Andrew Bordain to “get a life.”

The petition started after McKenna watched her younger brother attempt to warm a tortilla on his lamp’s light bulb. While this may be how Taco Bell cooks its food, such a technique is clearly not the best way to warm a tortilla. McKenna and her parents decided that the four-year-old budding Jamie Oliver should have his own Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven. There was one slight problem: the Easy-Bake Oven, like the executives at Hasbro, has not changed much since the 1960s. In addition, the Easy-Bake (not Hasbro’s management team, in fairness) is only available in the colors Barbie pink and Barney purple. Not only is the Easy-Bake hideous, it is hardly is an effective tool to prepare kids who want to learn how to cook--a skill that to most of us means trying to load up at the Whole Foods Hot Bar in one shot for less than $20.

Now, the critique that pink and purple are too “girly” and exclude men overlooks the stubborn fact that no self-respecting adult of either gender would cook, or be caught dead, in a pink or purple kitchen. Furthermore, any stereotype perpetrating the myth that cooking is for women is an insult to men: after all, guys who watch Gordon Ramsey’s cooking shows make NFL fans look like pansies.

Hasbro, therefore, needs to get a clue and learn that real men did not spend their childhood playing with GI Joes or Hot Wheels. Ever sit in a culinary school class? Those men (and women) drop F-bombs at a rate that would emasculate a NASCAR driver or military general (unless they’ve done business with Jill Kelley) in a heartbeat. They also do amazing tricks with knives that could make the most rabid NRA activist feel that he or she merely defends the right to bear sling shots.

To that end, 13-year-old Mckenna Pope has scored 27,494 signatures on her petition as of last night. Hasbro has no choice but offer a complete redesign of the Easy-Bake Oven, yet proceed with caution. After all, we should not inspire youngsters to cuss at the slightest deflation of a soufflé, though chucking muffin tins or mini tagines in anger when mom and dad aren’t looking is good clean fun and can improve hand-eye coordination.

What Hasbro must do is partner with a company such as Viking, the company that mastered the art of designing massive oven and gas ranges over which adults salivate, but once are able to afford such toys, never touch them. Kids want to be like adults, so what could be better than a Manly-Bake Oven or Tike-king Range that exudes stainless steel masculinity, and, of course, 21st century power femininity? Such a partnership between Hasbro and Viking would not only prove that cooking is the domain of both men and women, it would also be an incredible business move: plenty of adults would be thrilled at the opportunity to purchase a Viking product that A) they could finally afford and B) would actually fit in their kitchens. It’s time for Hasbro to ditch the purple coffin and both man-up and woman-up.

Published earlier today on Triple Pundit. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.